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Halloween and the Pure Joy of Stealing Your Children’s Candy

It's Halloween! Your kids are going to have candy! You're going to stay up later! So... it's sort of your candy, right?

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What’s the best holiday for dads? Father’s Day, Christmas, and birthdays are joyous occasions, but you don’t always get what you want. The best holiday for dads arrives on the heels of Halloween. I like to think of it as the Post-Halloween Robin Hood Festival. The ritual is old as time. After your child panhandles 37 ounces of corn syrup, you put the kid in sugar detox protocol, explain why the kid can’t sleep in their costume, and do whatever is possible to get the kid to go to sleep.

Then the fun begins in earnest.

You spread out the Halloween winnings and remove the lame, like office supplies and recycled Happy Meal toys. You double-check grandma’s stuff to make sure it’s from this decade. Finally, you identify the candy you want, need, and deserve. That’s the “treat.”

You can’t steal all the good stuff, like the Kit-Kats – even a four-year-old can detect that kind of thievery. You use your better-developed cortex to systematically thin out the sugar herd and make sure the kid doesn’t discover that daddy is a crook. That’s the “trick.”

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Every dad has a ritual and preferences. Here’s my approach (and I have to say, it works like a charm):

Fatherly IQ
  1. When was the last time you yelled at your kids?
    Today
    A couple days ago
    Within the last week
    I can’t remember. I don’t yell very often
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• Pour Pixy Stix on the tongue, top it off with some Pop Rocks, and wash down the sugar rainbow with a Wax Bottle Candy chaser.
• Slowly release a Reese Cup from its wax paper condo, pause to look at its natural beauty, and consume it as a whole.
• Line up the Tootsie Rolls and ponder how many to chew at one time. Same for Whoppers.
• If the sugar high gets too intense, chill by counting the number of Dots in each row.
• Ponder when to eat SweeTarts without killing the chocolate buzz. This also applies to Sour Patch Kids, Smarties, and Jolly Ranchers.
• Debate whether to eat M&M’s and Reese Pieces separately or go crazy with a combo.
• Although the Candy Corns and Gobstoppers are pretty, you avoid because of a new dental crown.
• Throw a few Skittles packages into the briefcase to enjoy while driving to work.
• Like a Fourth of July fireworks show, the best happens at the end. A back-to-back explosion of miniatures – Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, and 3 Musketeers – followed
by the big finale of a handful of Junior Mints.

Eventually, the party ends. You walk around gnawing on a Twizzler while removing all evidence of your criminal actions. The joy of spending quality time with old
childhood treats trumps any guilt. Dads stealing their children’s Halloween candy is a ritual old as time that never gets old.

Mark Shatz is a single-dad, psychologist, and author of Comedy Writing Secrets (3rd ed). His favorite pastime is watching his teenage son outsmart “proven” parenting techniques.